They don’t call protein the building blocks of the body for nothing. Here are my thoughts on the exercise portion of weight loss after regaining, plus an actually tasty way to get some pre- or post-workout whey protein (that’s 99.8% lactose free!) when you’re on the go.
I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.
My strength did not come from lifting weights.
My strength came from lifting myself up when I was knocked down.
Alrighty, in my last post I talked about the holy trinity of weight loss— nutrition, energy expenditure and sleep— as I’m attempting to lose some weight I regained after I stopped exercising and my muscle turned to blub. I gave the Cliff Notes version of my first steps to get my nutrition back on point and how I’ve been using vegan protein powder to support that goal, and now I want to talk about protein and how it supports my goals of being STRONGER and more healthy overall.
First, let me give you the Cliff’s Notes for my first steps trying to regain muscle.
- Start slow. IT IS SO HARD. It’s so frustrating to not be able to do what I could when I was in competition shape or training for obstacle races. But if you go too hard, you get super sore and mentally defeated at best or you get hurt. Both of those mean taking time off and that does nothing to further your goals.
- Go heavy. But not too heavy. What I mean is, don’t do things that aren’t too terribly taxing for long intervals, go for intensity or a heavier weight for shorter intervals. Light workouts for long periods don’t work on your body for long, and you’ll find yourself having to go longer and longer to get the same returns, which means plateaus and more mental defeatism.
- Go bodyweight when you can. But give yourself grace. Bodyweight exercises are great, you can do them anywhere, and generally speaking you’re less likely to injure yourself than when you’ve got what you used to backsquat nagging at the back of your mind. That said, you’re doing this because you gained weight, remember? Bodyweight exercises are going to be harder because your heart and lungs aren’t as conditioned as they used to be, but also you’re moving more weight. Don’t be tempted to compare your performance now to then.
- Be prepared for initial (seemingly) setbacks. As you rebuild muscle under the fat it’s going to push that fat out. You’re probably going to be drinking more water, too. You’re going to look puffy at first, and you’re probably going to GAIN a few pounds before you start losing. Remember though that the muscle is going to help you burn more calories; there’s a tipping point you have to reach. Focus on your overall fat-to-muscle body composition ratio and the long game and before long you’ll notice your clothes hanging differently on your frame.
To put it simply, when you exercise you deliberately tax your muscles, causing miniscule tears. When you consume protein, ideally right around the time of your workout, it helps to repair those tears (they don’t call protein the building blocks of the body for nothing).
It’s like the Japanese concept of Kintsugi, where broken pottery is repaired by sealing the cracks with gold: it is more beautiful and unique for having been broken, which is what the art form is getting at (related to wabi-sabi, a belief in the beauty of imperfection), but it’s also stronger because those cracks have been reinforced, which is what I’m getting at.
The problem is, I LOATHE eating too close to a workout, either before or after. The LAST thing I want is food or a protein shake, which is the gym rat’s general post-workout go-to (I also have a level of lactose intolerance). I can do a protein bar pre-workout if it’s not too dense, but their texture sometimes puts me off and many have a surprising amount of sugar. I used to eat a banana before a lot of CrossFit WODs, but I HATE BANANAS and I’d be tasting it the whole time, which always made that hour particularly grueling.
BUT, there’s a “magic window” that’s the optimal time to get that protein in to best rebuild those muscle tears.
So I was pretty intrigued when I got to try out Fuel For Fire as part of the Moms Meet blogger program. These are “real food” snacks, made from 100% real fruit puree and a quality whey protein isolate that is 99.8% lactose free.
Lemme say that again.
100% real fruit puree and a quality whey protein isolate that is 99.8% lactose free.
They are similar to the pouches that some kid applesauces and such come in for packing in lunches and on-the-go, which would make them an easy sell to help fill in gaps in kids’ nutrition. I’m, obviously, bummed about the disposable packaging; I’d love to hear about a recycling program. But for my purposes— occasional use for fueling up before or after an outside-my-house workout or a 5K— I’m willing to loosen my grip on that point.
Fuel For Fire was founded six years ago by professional chef and six-time Ironman Triathlete Rob Gilfeather, admirable credentials for someone creating real food workout fuel. (I was also delighted to learn that he handmade over 25,000 packs at home with his twin daughters when launching.)
Fuel For Fire Fruit + Protein Smoothie fast facts:
- no gluten, soy, nuts, GMOs, fat, or added sugar
- less than 125 calories
- each pouch has more protein than one whole egg
- nine essential amino acids in each pack
- comes in Sweet Potato Apple, Banana Cocoa, Tropical, Strawberry Banana and Coffee
- let’s say it one more time: 100% real fruit puree and a quality whey protein isolate that is 99.8% lactose free.
They don’t need refrigeration and will keep up to a year in your gym bag, but apparently a lot of people like them chilled. I’m weird and don’t like most food or drinks cold, so I can’t speak to that.
But how does it taste?
Shockingly good, actually, given that two of the flavors involve banana (which I hate) and one is tropical (which is also a flavor I’d never choose for myself). I particularly like the Sweet Potato Apple, which isn’t shocking as I love sweet potato. The coffee flavor actually contains 65 mg of caffeine! The consistency is thicker than applesauce but not quite as thick as yogurt, I’d say. And I don’t have to give my usual disclaimer of I’ve tried dozens of protein powders and similar products and I sort of like the taste myself: I can barely taste the whey protein. They go down easy, even after a workout. They’re just good.
Just don’t tell your kids, your partner or your dad they’re good for them, and they’ll eat them without complaining.
Get 40% off and free shipping on any purchase on fuelforfire.com with the discount code SAVE40. Offer expires July 31, 2018!